20 of Baseball's Most Inspirational on-Field Moments of All Time
You can call them what you want—inspiring, motivating, memorable, unforgettable.
We've all experienced moments like that throughout the course of our time as baseball fans, and no matter how distant of a memory they may become, we replay them in our minds time and time again.
Moments like these vault our teams to a World Series championship, bring our cities to a level of pride that hasn't been seen in generations, or make a hero out of a single man.
Other moments in this great game's history have actually had the power to transcend the game itself, and no matter how you look at it, they won't soon be forgotten.
David Freese's Walk-off Home Run
The St. Louis Cardinals are a storied franchise entrenched in history and no doubt have a number of memorable moments buried in the minds of Cards fans everywhere.
The one freshest in our memory is none other than local boy David Freese putting on an MVP winning performance in the 2011 World Series, propelling his team to a championship over the Texas Rangers.
The Curse Is Broken in Beantown
The Boston Red Sox championship run took shape in the ALCS when they were able to come back from a 3-0 deficit to take down the Yankees in seven games.
It was in the World Series that Sox fans heard the best words they could've possibly heard, "The Boston Red Sox are World Champions," as they swept the St. Louis Cardinals on October 27, 2004, to lift their nearly century-long curse and head into the record books.
Bucky Dent Is an Unlikely Hero
Having gone deep only 40 times in his first 12 years in the league and manning the ninth spot in the batting order, Bucky Dent played the role of an unlikely hero in the fall of 1978.
As the New York Yankees fought to get past the Boston Red Sox for postseason contention in a one-game playoff, Dent's memorable long ball propelled them into postseason play.
Joe Carter's World Series Clinching Home Run
Clinching the Toronto Blue Jays' second consecutive World Series title, Joe Carter's Game 6 walk-off home run would put Canadians in a frenzy and make for one of the most memorable moments in World Series history.
Diamondbacks' Walk-off Win to Clinch 2001 World Series
Luis Gonzalez led the charge in the late innings of the 2001 World Series in a matchup played under more of a national microscope, as the New York Yankees represented the American League just two months removed from the 9/11 attacks.
Gonzalez's walk-off hit was a memorable moment for all fans in the southwest, and was all that much more impressive because someone was actually able to crack the almost always unflappable Mariano Rivera, who boasts a postseason ERA that is virtually perfect.
Cal Ripken Jr. Becomes Baseball's Iron Man
A record that likely won't ever be broken, Cal Ripken Jr. made history on Sept. 6, 1995, when he broke Lou Gehrig's record for consecutive games played, a record that has been voted the most memorable moment in baseball history.
Twins Take Down Tigers in Game 163
Staging a furious September comeback, the Minnesota Twins provided the Metrodome with some farewell fireworks during their last season before moving to Target Field.
In front of a sold-out crowd, the Twins went back and forth with the Detroit Tigers before finally settling the score in extra innings, and earning themselves a postseason appearance with the New York Yankees.
Roy Halladay Tosses No-Hitter in First Postseason Appearance
After years of effective pitching, Roy Halladay still had yet to make a postseason appearance as of the 2010 season.
That all changed when he faced off against the Cincinnati Reds during Game 1 of the NLDS. Many wondered how Halladay would respond to the pressure on such a big stage for the first time.
Well, he responded better than anyone could have expected as he hurled a no-hitter, becoming just the second pitcher in baseball history to do so.
Edgar Martinez's Double Sends the Mariners to ALCS
In what is one of the more memorable moments in Kingdome history, Edgar Martinez set Seattle ablaze with his late-inning heroics as the Mariners would defeat the Yankees in walk-off fashion, earning a trip to the ALCS.
Cincinnati Reds Shock the Bash Brothers
Heading into the 1990 Fall Classic as heavy favorites, the Bash Brothers, Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, were supposed to lead the A's to the title as they faced the underdog Cincinnati Reds.
Things wouldn't go as planned for the Bash Bros, as their disappointing performances would lead to the Reds sweeping the A's in an improbable World Series finish.
Rays' Last-Minute Heroics Cap off Crazy Night of Baseball
The final day of this past year's regular season showcased everything that's great about baseball, as the Tampa Bay Rays would complete their improbable comeback in great fashion, overtaking the Boston Red Sox for the AL Wild-Card berth.
Marlins Clinch World Series Title in Extra Innings
With the Miami Marlins clearly having sights on returning to glory this season, they'll likely look back on the 1997 Marlins team for inspiration.
In what was the first World Series in which a wild-card team competed, the Marlins overtook the Cleveland Indians in extra innings of Game 7, only the third time a Game 7 went to extra frames.
Bobby Thomson's Pennant Clinching Walk-off
The Shot Heard 'Round the World is one of the most memorable moments in baseball history, as Bobby Thomson's home run pushed the Giants to a pennant in 1951.
Perhaps the most surprising element of the home run is the fact that the Dodgers actually let Ralph Branca enter the game in the first place. Thomson had already hit two home runs off of Branca that season, and the Giants as a team had actually beaten him on six occasions.
Carlton Fisk Waves It Fair in the '75 World Series
As if the first nine innings of the Red Sox's tilt against the Cincinnati Reds didn't have enough action, Carlton Fisk's animated gestures as he watched his 12th inning home run fall just fair down the left field wall gave Red Sox fans one of the more memorable images of their franchise's history.
Rockies Knock off the Padres in Game 163
It took 163 games to decide the NL Wild Card in 2007, as the Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres would square off with a postseason berth at stake.
The game would head to extra innings, when the Rockies would rally to score three runs in the 13th inning after the Padres took a two-run lead in the top of the inning.
The Rockies would ride the momentum all the way to the World Series, though they would be swept by the Boston Red Sox.
Kirk Gibson's Game 1 Walk-off Home Run
Hobbling to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning, Kirk Gibson's improbable Game 1 walk-off home run set the tone for the 1988 World Series.
The home run is widely regarded as one of the best home runs of all time, and though it would turn out to be Gibson's only plate appearance during the entire World Series, he certainly made it count.
Reggie Jackson Goes Deep Three Times
Stepping up and providing consistent results during a World Series is hard enough for any star in the league, as we've seen a number of the league's best fizzle out when the Fall Classic rolls around.
That wasn't the case in 1977, as the self proclaimed "Mr. October" would go deep three times in one game against the Dodgers, giving him five for the series and putting him in the history books.
Kirby Puckett Lifts Twins in Game 6 of Fall Classic
In what was one of the best World Series of all time, the Minnesota Twins were propelled to victory in Game 6 thanks to a walk-off home run from center-field star Kirby Puckett.
The Hall of Famer is still missed in Twins Territory, as his infectious smile made it hard not to love everything he did on the field.
Jackie Robinson Breaks the Color Barrier
In what is one of the most pivotal moments in the game's history, Jackie Robinson made history when he became the first African-American to play in major league baseball on April 15, 1947.
The move was met with mixed reactions from both the public and the team, though Dodgers manager Leo Durocher put that to bed when he stood up for Robinson.
From Out of the Shadows: African American Baseball from the Cuban Giants to Jackie Robinson (2005) by Bill Kirwin:
I do not care if the guy is yellow or black, or if he has stripes like a f*****' zebra. I'm the manager of this team, and I say he plays. What's more, I say he can make us all rich. And if any of you cannot use the money, I will see that you are all traded.
Piazza Homers in Mets' First Post 9/11 Game
With the nation reeling from the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, baseball would ultimately resume, with the New York Yankees and Mets becoming even more of a focal point in the sports world.
In the Mets' first game back after the attacks, Mike Piazza delivered the game's signature moment, a long ball into the night sky that electrified the crowd and seemingly unified a nation that was easing back into enjoying the freedoms that make this country great.